In making workload or recovery recommendations, it’s important to consider the timeline of the anticipated training/recovery response.
Recovery recommendations are often made with minimal consideration for the primary goal of the training phase or time an athlete has before they need to be recovered.
🥶 For example, cold water immersion can help reduce soreness/fatigue, increase parasympathetic tone, and better recover next-day measures of power. There’s also reason to believe cold water immersion will blunt the inflammation response to exercise, and compromise tissue adaptation.
🗣 The same method can be a great option for an athlete in-season with a competition the next day, and a poor option for an athlete in-season with >48 hours before their next competition or training to improve strength in the off-season.
In a similar context, workload monitoring and related recommendations to address specific physical capacities (e.g. additional high speed running or skating), overall volume, or recovery recommendations should be made with respect to layered time cycles and how they relate to short-term performance and recovery.
🥵 For example, if an athlete with a low overall volume of work over the previous week has a high-volume practice day, their NEW workload over the previous week will still likely be low, but the short-term fatigue response from the high-volume day may be significant and warrant either adjustments to their next day training volume or their recommended recovery strategies.
⚡ In contrast, an athlete with a typical or high volume of work over the previous week may still benefit from some day-before-competition priming strategy – (low volume of sprint, power or strength work).
🎯 Whether you start wide (looking at an athletes work over the previous 3+ weeks) and zoom in (work over 1-3 days), or start narrow and zoom out, it’s important to consider training and workload habits over various time cycles to better balance performance, training adaptation, and recovery.
Feel free to post any comments/questions below. If you found this helpful, please share/re-post it so others can benefit.
To your success,
P.S. For more information on in- and off-season program design, training and reconditioning for injured players, and integrating sports science into a comprehensive training process, check out Optimizing Adaptation & Performance
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Kevin has rapidly established himself as a leader in the field of physical preparation and sports science for ice hockey. He is currently the Head Performance Coach for the Boston Bruins, where he oversees all aspects of designing and implementing the team’s performance training program, as well as monitoring the players’ performance, workload and recovery. Prior to Boston, Kevin spent 2 years as an Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach for the San Jose Sharks after serving as the Director of Performance at Endeavor Sports Performance in Pitman, NJ. He also spent 5 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach with USA Hockey’s Women’s Olympic Hockey Team, and has been an invited speaker at conferences hosted by the NHL, NSCA, and USA Hockey.